Worst Dictators & Tyrants 🦹
Worst Dictators and Tyrants 🦹 All-Time List
Compiling ADDucation’s list of the worst dictators and tyrants of all time hasn’t been easy nor fun but we think it’s important to learn from the past. History may recognize a handful of “benevolent dictators” but most dictators are also tyrants who oppressed the populations under their control.
- Worst dictators and tyrants list compiled by Joe Connor, last updated .
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|Name of Worst Dictators 🦹||Country / Group||Born||Died||Age on Takeover||From||To||🦹Worst Dictators Responsible for…||Estimated Victims|
|al-Assad, Bashar||🇸🇾 Syria||1965||–||34||2000||2023||During the ongoing civil war in Syria since 2013 Bashar al-Assad is responsible for the bombing of his own population. He stands accused by the UN of war crime for the chemical weapons attack which killed 1,400 people in Damascus suburbs in 2013.||130,000+|
|al-Assad, Hafez||🇸🇾 Syria||1930||2000||41||1970||2000||Hafez al-Assad created a cult of personality around himself and his family and maintained control of the one party state by putting state security and intelligence services in the hands of the Shia Islam Alawites.||10,000|
|bin Laden, Osama||Al-Qaeda||1957||2011||37||1994||2011||Osama bin Laden was involved in the 1988 Gilgit Massacre in Kashmir and eventually admitted responsibility for the September 11th attacks in tapes aired by Al Jazeera in 2006.||4,000|
|Castro, Fidel||🇨🇺 Cuba||1926||2016||33||1959||2008||Fidel Castro jailed innumerable critics and dissidents and eventually handed power to his brother Raúl Castro in 2008, due to illness.||1,000|
|Ceaușescu, Nicolae||🇷🇴 Romania||1918||1989||47||1967||1989||Dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu consolidated power by jailing thousands of political opponents and sending many others to psychiatric hospitals. He suffered from paranoia and anointed himself “Conducător” and oppressed the Romanian people.||60,000|
|Chiang Kai-shek||🇨🇳 China||1887||1975||41||1928||1975||Chiang presided over purges, political authoritarianism, martial law and is named as responsible for the February 28 (2/28) massacre in 1947 (disputed by some scholars).||10,000|
|Duvalier, Jean Claude “Baby Doc”||🇭🇹 Haiti||1951||2014||19||1971||1986||Dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier was responsible for the persecution of political opponents, founding of the brutal “Tontons Macoutes” militia.||30,000|
|Franco, Francisco “El caudillo”||🇪🇸 Spain||1892||1975||46||1939||1975||Dictator Francisco Franco established a totalitarian one party state after the Spanish Civil War 1936-39, which claimed half a million lives. Franco’s Spain was responsible for political purges, torture, forced labor and executions in concentration camps.||1,200,000|
|Gadaffi, al Muammar “Colonel Gadaffi”||🇱🇾 Libya||1942||2011||27||1969||2011||As Libyan dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi was responsible for crimes against humanity including the infamous terrorist attack on Pan Am flight 103 in 1988 which resulted in the Lockerbie disaster in Scotland leaving 270 dead from 20 different countries.||5,000|
|Gengis Khan||🇲🇳 Mongolia||c1162||1227||44||1206||1227||Genghis Khan was a brutal leader one of the worst dictators in history. Gengis Khan bought together nomadic tribes across Northeast Asia to form the Mongol Empire of which he was the “Great Khan”. Mongol invasions across Asia and Europe followed and history holds Genghis Khan responsible for mass extermination, terrorism, ethnic cleansing and genocide on an unimaginable scale.||40,000,000+|
|Hirohito, Emperor (Tenno)||🇯🇵 Japan||1901||1989||25||1926||1989||Hirohito was not only one of the worst dictators but also one of the worst Emperors ever. He was Emperor during the second Japanese-Chinese War (1937-1945) and responsible for the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 which bought the USA into World War II. Historians argue over the extent of Emperor Hirohito’s involvement in Japanese war crimes which killed millions of people.||10,000,000|
|Hitler, Adolf “Führer”||🇩🇪 Nazi Germany||1889||1945||43||1933||1945||Adolf Hitler was undoubtedly one of the worst dictators that ever lived. Hitler and his cronies were responsible for the systematic persecution and extermination of Jews, Roma (Gypsies), communists, socialists, trade unionists, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, common criminals and others in concentration camps during Word War II.||55,000,000|
|Hussein, Saddam||🇮🇶 Iraq||1937||2006||42||1979||2003||As dictator Saddem Hussein was responsible for massacres of Shiites and Kurds and the first Gulf War against Iran between 1980-1988.||1,300,000|
|Idi Amin||🇺🇬 Uganda||1928||2003||43||1971||1979||Ugandan dictator Idi Amin was responsible for the persecution and murder of intellectuals, officers and judges and the brutal destruction of entire villages.||300,000|
|Ivan the Terrrible||🇷🇺 Russia||1530||1584||16||1547||1584||Ivan VI carried out mass executions and murdered thousands of people. Ivan the terrible was choleric, a sadist, and had a violent temper.||up to 220,000|
|Kim il-sung||🇰🇵 North Korea||1912||1994||36||1948||1994||Korean War against South Korea between 1950 and 1953.||3,500,000|
|Kim Jong-il||🇰🇵 North Korea||1941||2011||53||1994||2011||Torture, public executions, reign of terror. Accused of Human rights violations by the UN General Assembly in 2011 which have continued uder Kim Jong-il.||3,000,000|
|Kim Jong Un||🇰🇵 North Korea||1983||–||29||2012||In 2014 UN investigation recommends making Kim Jong-un accountable for crimes against humanity.||unknown|
|Kambanda, Jean||🇷🇼 Rwanda||1955||–||39||1994||Jean Kambanda was president of a caretaker government in Rwanda and responsible for the 1994 Rwandan Genocide when the from Hutu to Tutsi.||800,000|
|Khomeini, Ruhollah||🇮🇷 Iran||1902||1989||77||1979||1989||Ayatollah Khomeini fought the First Gulf War against Iraq (1980-1988) and is responsible for the execution of thousands of political prisoners and war criminals. Khomeini founded the Islamic Republic of Iran.||50,000|
|Kony, Joseph||🇺🇬 Uganda||1961||–||26||1986||Tyrant Joseph Kony founded the brutal rebel group LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) including around 66,000 child soldiers.||100,000|
|Leopold II, King||🇧🇪 Belgium||1835||1909||30||1865||1909||King Leopold II of Belgium is not only one of the worst dictators but also one of the worst monarchs ever. Leopold II was responsible for brutal atrocities (the “Congo Horrors”) against the population of the Belgian Congo.||2,000,000+|
|Mao Zedong||🇨🇳 People’s Republic of China||1893||1976||56||1949||1976||Mao Tse-tung also known as Chairman Mao initiated the Cultural Revolution which banished most of the intellectuals from universities to the countryside to be re-educated and perform manual labor. One of the worst dictators of the 20th century.||20,000,000|
|Marcos, Ferdinand||🇵🇭 Philippines||1917||1989||48||1965||1986||Ferdinand Marcos ruled as a dictator under martial law from 1972 through to 1981 during which time Amnesty International states 70,000 people were imprisoned, 34,000 were tortured and 3,240 were killed.||3,240|
|Mengistu, Haile Mariam||🇪🇹 Ethiopia||1937||–||40||1977||1991||Fall of Emperor Haile Selassie 1974; “Red Terror” against regime opponents; imprisonment and torture.||1,500,000|
|Milosevic, Slobodan||🇷🇸 Serbia, Yugoslavia||1941||2006||48||1989||2000||Balkan conflicts in Yugoslavia; Serbia vs. Croatia (1991-95); vs. Bosnia (1992-95); vs. Kosovo (1998-99).||200,000|
|Mubarak, Husni||🇪🇬 Egypt||1928||2020||53||1981||2011||Autocratic reign in a virtually military state, suppressed opposition, brutally crushed the “Arab Spring” uprising in 2011 but he was eventually aquitted of conspiring to kill protesters.||none proven|
|Mugabe, Robert||🇿🇼 Zimbabwe||1924||2019||63||1987||As dictator Robert Mugabe was responsible for persecution, imprisonment, torture and famine in Zimbabwe. The Gukurahundi massacres, between 1982 and1987, were carried out by Mugabe’s Fifth Brigade of the Zimbabwe National Army resulting in the death of at least 10,000 Ndebele mostly civilians.||10,000|
|Mohammed, Omar||🇦🇫 Afghanistan Taliban||1960||2013||36||1996||2001||Tyrant Mullah Mohammed Omar was co-founder and leader of the Taliban, radical Islamic terrorist group, responsible for massacres and the September 11 attacks (9/11) in 2001 terrorist attacks against the USA.||100,000+|
|Mussolini, Benito “Il Duce”||🇮🇹 Italy||1883||1945||39||1922||1943||Benito Mussolini took Italy into an alliance with Adolf Hitler and Germany in World War II. Responsible for anti-Semitic racial laws.||1,200,000|
|Nyýazow, Saparmyrat||🇹🇲 Turkmenistan||1940||2006||51||1991||2006||Saparmyrat Nyýazow was a totalitarian dictator and megalomaniac (he even renamed January after him), electoral fraud. His successor Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow has continued as a totalitarian leader and may well be added to this list.||unknown|
|Omar, (also Umar) al-Bashir||🇸🇩 Sudan||1944||–||45||1989||In 2008 dictator Omar al-Bashir was accused, by the International Criminal Court (ICC), of responsibility for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Dafur since 2003.||100,000+|
|Pinochet, Augusto||🇨🇱 Chile||1915||2006||58||1973||1990||Augusto Pinochet was dictator of Chile following the violent coup against President Salvador Allende and responsible for torture and murder.||3,200|
|Pol Pot||🇰🇭 Cambodia Red Khmer||1925||1998||50||1975||1979||During the guerrilla warfare in Cambodia dictator Pol Pot was responsible for genocide of the population.||1,200,000|
|Stalin, Joseph||Soviet Union||1878||1953||43||1922||1953||Joseph Stalin is one of the worst dictators ever. He was responsible for systematic executions; forced labor in Gulag labor camp; deportation of entire ethnic groups across Europe.||25,000,000|
|Suharto, Haji Mohammed||🇮🇩 Indonesia||1921||2008||46||1967||1998||Muhammad Soeharto was responsible for the mass murder of around half a million people between 1965 and 1966 following a failed coup attempt and human rights abuses including widespread torture, massacres of alleged communists and war crimes in Aceh, East Timor, Papua and the Moluccan islands.||1,200,000|
|Taylor, Charles||🇱🇷 Liberia||1948||–||49||1997||2003||Massacres among own population and creation of a brutal rebel group, civil war in Sierra Leone.||300,000|
|Tito, Josip Broz||Former Republic of Yugoslavia||1892||1980||53||1945||1980||Authoritarian government; founded “real socialism” dictatorship; mass arrests after the “Croatian Spring” in 1971.||100,000|
|Videla, Jorge Rafael||🇦🇷 Argentina||1925||2013||51||1976||1981||Jorge Rafael Videla was dictator of Argentina until after they lost the Falklands war in 1982. In 2010 Videla accepted responsibility for the actions of his military junta which, according to APDH (Assembly for Human Rights), were responsible for the deaths or disappearance of 12,261 people.||13,000|
See also: Famous Assassinations… | Historical Battles…
Please help us improve this list of the world’s worst dictators and tyrants. ADDucation has decided any head of state, leader, absolute monarch or emperor that fail any of the 4 of the questions below is a dictator or tyrant in all but name.
Learn More About The Top 10 Worst Dictators Ever
Help improve ADDucation’s list of worst dictators in modern history by adding your comments below…
Nothing about man who decides to attack Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos? About 10 million death people?
Please enlighten us and we’ll add him to the list…
Please do not leave out the tyrants of secular and religion movements
We’re open to suggestions – who do you think we should include and why?
The list should have more pre-1900 figures; I think it only includes two, Leopold II and Ivan the Terrible. Some possibilities: Genghis Khan, Vlad the Impaler, Nero, Caligula, Timur, Robespierre, Attila the Hun, and Talaat Pasha.
Thanks Brian, we agree and will update the list shortly.